April 14, 2008

Dealing with Althea

It's finally spring-like here, albeit a bit chilly, and I am on temporary hiatus from studio work to deal with the landscape. A lot of my work is based on plants I grow, and I do a lot of printing and painting of fabric outside, so I suppose the garden could be considered my outdoor studio.

It's an established garden at this point, meaning I spend little time encouraging things to become established, and a lot of time hacking things back that have overstepped their bounds and/or need rejuvenation. Since in the past I planted very intensively (translation: I am a plant junkie and tried to fit some of everything in), there is a fair amount of whacking back that needs to occur each spring. It's fun because I'm aiming for an aesthetically pleasing result, and there's a lot of contemplation and decision making that goes into each pruning cut.

I will spare you the pictures of pruned shrubs, or the even more impressive view of the resultant brush pile, but above is a small quilt featuring the Althea, or Rose of Sharon, variety called "Diana". It's a cyanotype made from a photograph, with silk borders and hand beading. The vegetative Diana has been dealt with quite thoroughly, and will doubtless reward me for my attentions with plenty of blooms this fall. Below is a detail:

I'm about halfway through shaping up some overgrown arborvitae. They are lovely to work on because they smell so good. They require ladder work, which I'm no longer willing to do without a spotter nearby, ready to call 911 should I lose my grip. Below is an arborvitae postcard, a cyanotype on silk.

No comments: